Staunton, July 29 – When the USSR disintegrated almost 30 years ago, a post-Soviet space continued both within the Russian Federation and across much of what had been the Soviet Union because their leaders remained “in essence, part of the Soviet nomenklatura, criminal structures, and special services,” Denis Sokolov says.
But now, this is changing, in part because of generational change and in part because the Kremlin continues to take steps that accelerate the final splitting apart of the area, the Russian scholar now based at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies argues (trtrussian.com/mnenie/putin-imperskie-ambicii-ili-borba-za-rejting-2363989).
“The new urban dwellers in Tbilisi, in Yerevan, in Kyiv, in Minsk and in Moscow, Khabarovsk and Magas,” he tells Izabella Yevloyeva, the founding editor of Ingushetia’s Fortanga portal, “does not want to put up with this nomenklatura behind whom stand Putin, Timchenko, the Rottenbergs and other members of the Petersburg ‘collective.’”
And their desire to turn away from that past has been intensified by Putin’s statements and actions such as his loose talk about the need for changing the borders of many of these countries in Russia’s favor. Describing part of their lands as “gifts that haven’t been paid for is not a very good idea,” Sokolov says. It only reminds people of the Soviet approach.
“If the Putin regime wants to stop the disintegration of its political space,” Sokolov continues, it will have to adopt an entirely different line given that there is a new generation coming to power across the region, a generation that doesn’t think looking to Moscow is its first if not only responsibility.
“The maintenance of normal ties with the countries of the post-Soviet space,” the analyst continues, “is an important geopolitical task both for Russia and for its neighbors because this is a zone of their strategic economic and political interests.” But such positive relations will not arise as long as Moscow insists on acting as if it can issue diktats to all the others.
Whatever tactical successes the Kremlin may have achieved with that approach, Sokolov suggests, are more than outweighed by the strategic failure to develop good-neighborly relations.”